The Impact of a Blessed Life

My journey into the area of Obedience continues as I look today at Psalm 128. The focus of verse 1 is explained in this short and beautifully worded psalm.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
    for the man who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion;
    may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
    peace be on Israel.

The first point the psalmist makes is that obedience brings blessing. The obedience is specific as it is about walking in the fear of the Lord. This fear is not panic or terror but reverence and awe. Keeping the Lord with you each day as a loved and cherished companion, knowing He knows right from wrong and will guide your steps, is this kind of obedience. The psalmist also points out that walking in obedience to God daily will bring blessings to your household and all of your family. I love this idea that walking with God reflects on those around you for good. By your words and deeds you will make Him known. Paul gives us this idea when he wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:14 ” The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” When we walk with Jesus, His grace is on us and poured out to others in His name. This is a beautiful thought to ponder and absorb. Your life has meaning in Him and will impact others for Jesus!

The psalmist also make the point that a life lived in obedience will reflect the peace of God and bring prosperity to our life and the lives of our children. Peter opens his second letter with this same idea. 2 Peter 1:2-3 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” God promises grace and peace to those who follow Him and Peter tells us that God has given us all we need to see and live in that peace and to do it with abundance. Is your life peaceful? I’m not talking about being free from conflict, but do you have worries about your eternal future? Do you know that you belong to Him no matter what happens? Is your life filled with abundant love from God? As you look into His Word, do you see His love for you and His peace? Consider Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” and John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” God promises His love and peace for us. It starts when you receive Jesus as your savior and repent of your sins. It will continue into eternity! Now that is love in abundance and bountiful peace that we did and do not deserve!

Seeking to walk in obedience to Jesus and show His love to those around you today. You will be blessed!

Linda


A Reminder of What Christmas Brings…

This blessing shows us what having Christ in Christmas does for you and me.

His Spirit brings us peace. John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” His peace dispels all fears, removes our heart troubles and calms us in a chaotic world.

His arrival brings us hope for forgiveness, mercy and redemption. Colossians 1:13-14  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead“. Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

He brings warmth into our lives with His love. 1 John 4:7-9 speaks of God’s love for us. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” God is love and He sent Jesus as proof of that great love. John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

May the Peace, Hope and Love of God fill you day.

Merry Christmas,

Linda

The 4th Sunday of Advent, Peace to You!

On this 4th Sunday before Christmas, we light the peace candle. The first candle we lit on that First Sunday was the prophecy candle which symbolized the hope the coming Messiah brings to mankind. The second was the Bethlehem candle which reminded us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third candle symbolized the Shepherd’s joy at the birth of the Messiah. Today we light the Angel candle symbolizing the message given to the angels which was one of “Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men.” The final white center candle will be lit on Christmas Eve which speaks of the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ child.

Rejoice today as you worship and sing carols. Ponder the blessings of hope, joy and peace that come to us because of God’s mercy and grace in sending Jesus as our Savior. Here is Psalm 130 which speaks of our cries to God for mercy as we realize our own sin. The answer rests with the Lord and His mercy towards us in sending Jesus.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,
    I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
    Pay attention to my prayer.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
    who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
    that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
    yes, I am counting on him.
    I have put my hope in his word.

I long for the Lord
    more than sentries long for the dawn,
    yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
    for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
    His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from every kind of sin.

Thank you Lord for your unfailing mercy and love. Thank you for sending Jesus to redeem me from every kind of sin. Thank you Lord that You have everything under your control. I will trust in You.

Linda

Peace, Gratitude, Forgiveness- May they be seated at your Table this Thanksgiving

November 21,2022

Colossians 3:15-16 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Paul was writing to Colossians about their attitudes towards one another. In verses 12-15 he describes what their behavior should look like towards one another that would be pleasing to God. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” If we are behaving as Paul describes, then we just need to relax and let Christ rule in our hearts bringing peace and unity to our gatherings. Because of the message of Christ, we can worship together and praise God in one accord with extreme gratitude in our hearts.

What if this is not what our homes, families, and churches look like? Then we need to seek God’s help. Hebrews 4:16 “
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God will seek to use us to bring harmony and peace to where we are. He promises His peace to indwell us and knowing that promise we can indeed be thankful. At this opportune time of the year, let us express our thanks to God and to let others know that our THANKFULNESS comes from GOD! Remember, Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I am forgiven. You might wonder why I chose this truth for today’s scripture. As my remember my own sin, it brings great thankfulness for God’s forgiveness. I can look at others as ones loved by God who also stand in need of forgiveness. I am reminded of Romans 5:8“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loved me and sent Christ to die for me. That is the center of my thankfulness and heart of gratitude towards God and others. Here are a few other verses about forgiveness: Colossians 1:12-14  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Micah 7:18-19 is one of my favorites to claim with hope and thanks, “Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Thank you Jesus, my sins are gone!

I also love the image given to us in Isaiah 38:17 “Surely it was for my benefit
    that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
    from the pit of destruction;

you have put all my sins
    behind your back.”

Let your forgiven heart be open to the needs of others and seek to make peace at your Thanksgiving table. Remember you have His peace within you and can testify to the wonders of His Name.

Linda

Peace, a blessing to claim in Christ!

November 7, 2022

As we approach the coming election day in the United States, let us give thanks and remember God’s peace.

Colossians 3:15  “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

God desires us to live with His peace in our hearts. His peace grounds us and helps to keep us focused on His purpose. As believers, we are to live in peace with one another, because we are unified by His spirit. God dwells within us and will guide us as we seek to live for Him.

Why don’t we have peace if that is what God has for us in Christ? James tell us in James 4:2b-3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Are you craving peace but not asking or are you asking with selfish motives? Jesus told us in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We are to not let fear or troubles get in our way as Jesus has peace for us. Are you letting the world’s pressures or troubles stand in your way of having God’s peace? Seek Jesus, talk to Him in prayer and ask Him for the peace He has for you. Claim God’s promise of peace from John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have peace with God. What we can be assured of is that peace is ours through Christ and is always attainable.  Jesus said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  The peace Jesus gives is not worldly calm and freedom from activity,  but a peace that will satisfy our souls.  It is the peace the pervades us even when the world is swirling around us.  Paul describes this peace in Romans 5:1-2  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”   Paul assures us that the peace we have though Christ brings us into relationship with God, is filled with His grace,  and it will purposefully sustain us no matter what else is happening in our lives.

Praise God for His peace and that we can experience it today!

Linda

Are you ready to Go? Will you speak up?

Jesus was actively reassuring his followers on Resurrection Sunday. He appeared to the two men on the Road to Emmaus, to the women in the garden and Mary, to Peter and then to a gathering of disciples in a closed room. John records this closed door appearance in John 20:19-22. I like the Amplified translation as it makes what happened very clear.  “So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy.” The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit. Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real.  Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body

He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’.  This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they might have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest.  They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism.  When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Their response to Jesus was pure joy!  He sent greetings of peace as they were living in fear being behind locked doors. I’m sure they thought that what happened to Jesus at the hands of the religious leaders could happen to them as his disciples. What they needed was peace and Jesus knew that. They also needed a mission or purpose. For 3 years they had followed him, spoke with him, listened and saw the miraculous power of God. What purpose did they have without him? Jesus knew what they needed was direction and purpose so He gave them orders to go out and tell others.   He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation, love and forgiveness of sins.  Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.     

tell others

What is your response to the risen Savior?  I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day.   Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose.  It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel.  He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from the penalty of sin which is death and makes us clean and forgiven in the sight of God.  Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Jesus sent them, and sends us too into the world where we live, to tell others the good news of Christ.  We have a commission from Christ to speak out and speak up for Him.

Who will you joyfully tell today?

Linda

A Purposeful Encounter with the Risen Lord

On Resurrection Sunday Jesus met the women in the garden, and the two men walking on the Road to Emmaus.  Today’s passage shows what happened after Jesus left the men he had met on the road.

After encountering Jesus and breaking bread with Him, Jesus disappeared and the two on the Road to Emmaus quickly went to find the disciples. “They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.” Luke 24:33-43 NIV

What was their immediate concern?  Is Jesus real or are we experiencing a hallucination?  What was Jesus immediate concern?  Jesus wanted them to Know He was alive and for them to be at peace.  He did not want them anxious or fearful but open and willing to welcome Him into their midst.   What is your reaction when confronted by Jesus?   Do you doubt who Jesus is and question His reaching out to you or do you welcome Him and take the peace he always offers?

Jesus reassured the disciples that He was a real and alive just as He promised.  He proved it to them by calmly showing them His hands and feet- pierced at the cross, and by eating food with them.  

How does Jesus make himself known to you?  Does He come to you in prayer, in the helping hands of others or through His Word?   Jesus can and does reveal himself to us if we are open and willing.  In Matthew 7:7 Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”   Be a seeker today and know the joy of His presence.  Be amazed as you encounter the living Lord Jesus, just as the disciples did in the upper room.  Each encounter with Jesus brings new revelation and understanding of who He is!   Be open to Him and He will reveal Himself to you and grace you with His peace.

Linda

upper-room
The disciples encountered Jesus in the upper room, where will you meet Him today?

Advent…Gloriously Completed in Jesus’ Arrival

Merry Christmas! I found this Christmas Blessing while blogging this year and really loved the sentiments it contained. May you know the blessings of Peace that Jesus brings, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May you see your Hope in Him, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” May you feel the Sprit of His Love, 1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” May you have the Comfort of Faith in Jesus, 2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”

All of these gifts complete the circle of our Advent Wreath as we lit the Christ candle on Christmas Eve proclaiming His birth. May you find Love, Comfort, Hope and Peace in Jesus. May you rejoice in the arrival of Jesus and claim the JOY God has for you.

Linda

Advent…the 4th Sunday, Peace Good Will Towards men

On this 4th Sunday before Christmas, we light the 4th purple candle in the Advent wreath. The first purple candle was lit on the 1st Sunday- the prophecy candle which symbolized the hope the coming Messiah brings to mankind. The second was the Bethlehem candle which reminded us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third candle was pink symbolizing the Shepherd’s joy at the birth of the Messiah. Today we light the Angel’s candle symbolizing the message given to the angels which was one of “Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men.” The final white center candle will be lit on Christmas Eve which speaks of the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ child.

Rejoice today as you worship and sing carols. Ponder the blessings of hope, joy and peace that come to us because of God’s mercy and grace in sending Jesus as our Savior. Here is Psalm 130 which speaks of our cries to God for mercy as we realize our own sin. The answer rests with the Lord and His mercy towards us in sending Jesus.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,
    I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
    Pay attention to my prayer.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
    who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
    that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
    yes, I am counting on him.
    I have put my hope in his word.

I long for the Lord
    more than sentries long for the dawn,
    yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
    for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
    His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from every kind of sin.

Thank you Lord for your unfailing mercy and love. Thank you for sending Jesus to redeem me from every kind of sin.

Linda

Happy Thanksgiving from the Heart

As I conclude this year’s Thanksgiving month of thanks, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! May the day be filled with thanks to the God who provides all we have and need. I chose as today’s verses Colossians 3:15-17. Let the Word of God bring to mind the many things you have to be thankful for and to create in you a growing attitude of gratitude towards Almighty God.

15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Have a blessed day thanking your heavenly Father, thanking Jesus, and thanking His indwelling Holy Spirit. Let your praises of Thanks be a sweet aroma towards Him.

Linda